Police fingerprinting for criminal charges at Municipal Court is improper and illegal, claim Montreal activists
Judge to rule on motion to destroy all fingerprints ever taken in relation to cases at Montreal's Municipal Court, and forbid fingerprints in future cases
(September 27, 2016, Montreal) — Local activist and community organizer, Jaggi Singh, will be presenting a court motion claiming that all fingerprinting and photographs for summary criminal charges at Montreal's Municipal Court is improper and illegal.
The motion, brought forward by Singh as a self-represented defendant with the support of other local activists, will be heard this Friday, September 30 at 9:30am at Montreal's Municipal Court in front of Judge Randall Richmond. Singh is refusing to provide any fingerprints to the Montreal police for a recent criminal charge.
Singh was arrested, with 17 other co-accused, on May 3, 2016, after an occupation of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offices. He was charged with mischief and ordered to appear later for fingerprints at Montreal police's Centre Operationnel Sud. Singh initially offered to provide fingerprints, but the police refused to take them because of his refusal to answer any questions beyond providing name, address and date of birth. On further study of the Identification of Criminals Act, as well as related laws and jurisprudence, Singh discovered that fingerprints cannot be taken, even in the case of a conviction, for summary criminal offences.
"The police and Montreal prosecutors have been taking fingerprints and photos from criminal defendants at Municipal Court, improperly and illegally, for decades," states Singh. "My motion this Friday argues that the practice of fingerprinting and photographs must stop, and all fingerprints previously taken, from potentially tens of thousands of defendants, should be destroyed. No one can be compelled to offer fingerprints if their charges are at Montreal's Municipal Court."
Singh's written motion, to be presented Friday, is available online at: www.solidarityacrossborders.
Source: Contempt of Court: Legal Clinic By and For Social Movements
The prosecutor in this case, representing the City of Montreal and the police, is Maître Alexander Tandel.